Saturday, June 08, 2013

Yucca Valley (L22), California: Airport district asks homeowners to approve tax

Embezzler’s land:  Forty acres in the Yucca Valley Airport District is owned by Richard Demel, a former volunteer airport manager who was convicted in 2008 of embezzling $1.3 million from the district and the state.

Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013 9:50 pm

By Jimmy Biggerstaff Hi-Desert Star

YUCCA VALLEY — The airport district here will hold a special election July 2 for a new tax to raise money to operate and maintain the airport.

If the tax passes, all property in the district will be charged 2 cents per square foot, an amount adjusted annually for inflation.

A typical property owner in the district may expect to pay an additional $200 or $300 on annual property taxes, depending on the size of the parcel.

The tax would generate an estimated annual revenue of $146,000, if all taxes were collected.

Measure Z must be approved by two-thirds of the district’s approximately 42 registered voters to pass, according to the county elections office.

If the tax doesn’t pass, the airport district will have to dissolve because it will not meet requirements to have a stable source of income, Bob Dunn, a member of the district Board of Directors, said. The airport will then become a private corporation.

The supporters’ argument submitted to the county states the airport is an important community resource. The public facility is available for use by government agencies responding to fires and search-and-rescue operations.

Medical teams use the airport to load trauma patients onto helicopters and fly them to hospitals.

Currently, the airport runs on $10,000 it gets each year from a Caltrans fund that distributes aviation gas tax money. The rest of the operating revenue comes from private use fees.


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